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The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896)

af Harold Frederic

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498736,363 (3.8)23
Published in 1896, The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination is a profound psychological portrait of the spiritual undoing of a guileless Methodist minister who is taken in by a rural townspeople’s various progressive ideas, from liberalism to bohemianism, only to be spurned by them for being too conventional. Described by Everett Carter as “among the four or five best novels written by an American during the nineteenth century,” the novel, as Joyce Carol Oates writes in her Introduction, has “shrewd, disturbing insights into the human pysche.” This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the text of the authoritative Harold Frederic Edition.… (mere)

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Viser 1-5 af 7 (næste | vis alle)
Frederic's feat is a precise holding and adjusting of perspective, one that builds and ultimately crescendos in a vein so awkward and uncomfortable it left me squirming. The theological discussions too, are robust and would be right at home in discourse of 2019...which isn't such a great thing.
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
I read this book in a 19th C. American lit class & I wasn't too impressed by it. Harold Frederic does write some good short stories, but this book was pretty dull. ( )
  sixwoolsocks | Feb 9, 2010 |
Project Gutenberg, 19th century, American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Decadence, Gender Roles, Religion
  Packrat | Jun 18, 2008 |
This is a hella book! It's my current unanswered prayer to HBO for a miniseries. Our father and board chair, give us next season....a period piece, like Deadwood, with a religious twist, like Big Love...a torrid tale of Methodism in fin de siecle upstate New York.

To cut to the chase - I'm actually an unabashed anti-clerical curmudgeon, so I was rooting for my young Galahad, Theron Ware, to break out of his moldy Methodist mold. I was swooning right along with him as Celia turned on the Chopin, as he got hip to George Sand, as the filter in my reading glasses turned from sepia to henna.

That's not to say I didn't appreciate the ample religious and philosophical digressions. At one point, I thought I had wandered into a chapter of the Brothers Karamazov - Dr. Ledmar, expounding on the religiosity of women, explains they require "miracles, mystery...and their dogma embodied in a man" Yo, 'sup Dostoyevsky? Duh, Grand Inquisitor!

But still, I was plowing along for the pure romance novel thrill, except maybe with Celia in the open chested pirate shirt, and Theron draped on her arm. And so I more or less was sucker-punched by the Turn-of -the-Screw ending. What I thought was a finish line victory tape to this puddle-leaping hill-climbing motocross of a spiritual thrill ride turned out to be piano wire. Thwappp! thump-thump thump.

Seriously, this masterpiece is a leather dog bone for literary types. You can gum and slobber it all day long, savoring stuff like Adamic Myth themes, 19th century realism, Faustian downfalls, the role of the ministry in American literature, Catholic and Protestant culture clashes and on and on. And you should. I suggest http://helios.acomp.usf.edu/~rrogers/index.html

But beware, I daresay this is the kind of obscure but gripping work that could turn an unsuspecting underclassman into an English major. One is intrigued and then enamored. One does research and becomes illuminated. One begins a thesis and continues to grad school. And one is damned...to a cash register in a Barnes and Noble in Oregon. Fated by intellectual pride. ( )
6 stem Ganeshaka | Apr 29, 2008 |
2635 The Damnation of Theron Ware, by Harold Frederic (read 7 Aug 1994) I was inspired to read this 1896 novel by my reading on April 29, 1994, of The London Yankees by Stanley Weintraub. I found I liked it very well, not for the reasons suggested by modern critics but for a much more atavistic reason: it tells of a Methodist minister (Theron Ware) who makes a fool of himself when he, a married man, falls in love with a Catholic girl. The girl, and the Catholic priest (Father Forbes), who figures prominently in the story, are not exemplary figures, but I reacted favorably to the fall of the preacher. The climax is on page 331:
"It is all in a single word, Mr. Ware," she proceeded, in low tones, "I speak for others as well as myself, mind you,--we find that you are a bore."
I, contrary to more tender-hearted souls, richly enjoyed the denouement involving the frustration of the minister's desire for adultery. Frederic was born 1858, died 1898. His book, Into the Valley, has an entry in my 1958 Encyclopedia Americana. If I could find the book I might read it. ( )
1 stem Schmerguls | Apr 5, 2008 |
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Published in 1896, The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination is a profound psychological portrait of the spiritual undoing of a guileless Methodist minister who is taken in by a rural townspeople’s various progressive ideas, from liberalism to bohemianism, only to be spurned by them for being too conventional. Described by Everett Carter as “among the four or five best novels written by an American during the nineteenth century,” the novel, as Joyce Carol Oates writes in her Introduction, has “shrewd, disturbing insights into the human pysche.” This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the text of the authoritative Harold Frederic Edition.

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